Showcasing outstanding dental reviews is an excellent way to find prospective patients researching online for a new dentist.

Word of mouth is still the most popular form of referral, but with every passing year fact-finding becomes more digitized.

Currently, more than 88% of consumers utilize online reviews before making a purchase. Be it buying a new TV, trying out a restaurant, or, you guessed it, finding a new dentist.

It is absolutely invaluable to not only have an online presence with patient reviews, but to have positive dental reviews.

Consider the following: 94% of people are willing to visit an establishment that has a 4-star rating. Slip to a 3-star rating and that number drops to 57%. Anything below 3-stars and you’re looking at only 14% of the population.

Excellent dental reviews dramatically increase the likelihood acquiring new patients. In fact, according to Dentistry IQ, roughly 50% of patients would leave their network just to have a doctor with favorable online reviews.

And while there’s no silver bullet for landing top reviews across the board, there are several tactics dental practices can employ to better ensure they look good online.

Great Dental Care = Great Dental Reviews

It all starts here.

There are no good reviews without good service.

Before focusing on your practice’s online reviews, take a step back. Audit your office. Really take stock and make sure things are running just as you’d want.

Put yourself in the patients’ shoes. How do things look from the waiting room? Are you happy with your staff, yourself and the overall atmosphere of your office?

Tighten up any loose areas before investing energy in online reviews. After all, they’re an endorsement of your professional livelihood.

Again: there are no reviews without good service, so focus on in-house operations and customer service before anything else.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

This piggybacks off the above point. Cliche but true, consistency is key.

Consider fast food restaurants.

Why are they so successful?

It’s because they’re consistent. A McDonald’s in Florida is the same as a McDonald’s in Nebraska is the same as a McDonald’s in California.

Consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds comfort. From comfortable patients come favorable reviews.

Patients should never have to play a guessing game with your office. When they call, all information should be identical, no matter whether it comes from the doctor, hygienist, or office manager.

The same goes for in-office experience. All greetings, hand-offs, and communication should be top-notch each and every time.

Marry together A+ customer service with consistent treatment (from the entire staff), and you can expect nothing but glowing dental reviews.
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Ask Patients Who Love You

When seeking out online reviews, start with the patients that love you. They’re probably already sending new patients your way via word of mouth, so this is just a new outlet for them to spread the love.

This is also a way to sort of game the system. Prime the pump, if you will. Pad your online reviews with comments from people whom you know will speak positively on your behalf.

Empower your patients. By asking them for an endorsement, which has a significant impact on your business, you show just how much you value their opinions. They’re an extension of your practice; members of your dental family.

A super important thing to note: do not incentivize people.

Aside from being unethical, it’s highly frowned upon by review sites. Besides, people can tell when an endorsement is authentic. You only want the people who are truly invested in reviewing you.

Share Positive Reviews

Okay, now that you have some positive reviews, it’s time to show the world just how beloved you are. Share those bad boys on social media!

There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn a little bit. Just be tactful about it.

Don’t go in saying, “Another example of why we’re the best practice this side of the Mississippi.”

Instead, thank the reviewer, tag them, and explain how happy you are that they’re a patient of yours. That you’re thrilled they were so pleased with their service.

You can also send out an email survey following a patient’s treatment. Include previous positive reviews, and say how you’re always interested in hearing what your patients have to say.

Many dental marketing platforms enable you to automatically send out these review surveys following treatment. Even better, some will qualify the results and filter out any negative reviews so nothing bad is shared on public review sites!

Claim Your Accounts

Have you set up your Google My Business account?

How about your Yelp page?

Healthgrades?

We get it. A ton of review sites exist on the web, and every year there’s some new one people tell you you’ve just got to be on.

But here’s the deal: while you don’t have to be active on all these sites, you absolutely must claim your profile on them.

People are going to write dental reviews about you regardless, so you might as well make sure all the info on these is correct. Office hours, address, phone number: claim your account and ensure they’re all up to date. The last thing you want is a negative review from somebody who tried calling your office but could never get through, all because the wrong phone number is listed on your Yelp page.

Claiming accounts also enables you to police reviews a little more. If you feel that somebody has unjustly posted a negative review, you can contact customer support and hopefully get it removed.

Focus on Select Sites

Narrow your scope, focus your aim, and pick off one site at a time.

For one, people don’t always do well with a lot of choices. Requesting that a patient, “review us on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or Healthgrades,” is a surefire way to get absolutely zero return.

It’s too much to process!

What sites did they tell me? Do I have to leave reviews on all the sites? Boy, this sure sounds like a lot of work. I don’t have time for all that. I’m sure other people will take care of it.

The goal here is not to overwhelm your patients by assigning homework.

Pick one site, set a target number of responses, and once you’ve hit the number, move on to the next site.

This approach will also prevent you from being thin across the board.

Lightly populated review sites simply don’t pack enough of a punch to sell prospective patients who are on the fence. Rather than spreading yourself thin, focus on one site at a time.

With 88% of consumers forming an opinion by reading up to 10 reviews, that’s a very solid baseline. If a lower number feels more attainable, then shoot for six reviews per site (73% of people form an opinion by reading up to six reviews).

After you’ve populated each individual review site with 6-10 reviews, then it’s okay to spread the wealth and diversify.

Respond and Adjust

The law of averages tells us that not every dental review you receive will be a ringing endorsement. You’ll get an unfavorable review at some point, at which time you’ll be tasked with responding.

Online responses should first acknowledge that the reviewer encountered an issue they felt deserved public feedback. Inform the person that you are looking into the matter, and do your best to express how the issue at hand is not representative of your practice. Should you want, you can also offer to connect directly with the unhappy reviewer.

Responding to negative dental reviews serves several purposes. It shows that you genuinely care about the time people spend in your office. That you monitor what’s said about you online. And that if there’s an issue, you’re willing to address it in an open forum.

In responding to reviews, you’re not just speaking to one person, but also to the cluster of potential patients who are researching your practice. After all, 26% of people want local businesses to respond to negative reviews so that they can have balanced feedback.

Sometimes all it takes is a cordial response for somebody to reverse course and amend their negative review.

And circling back to ensuring great service: use negative reviews as a reason to audit your practice.

If you find that a negative review is accurate, make appropriate changes and keep getting 1% better every day!
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